He was born in Powell on Jan. 15, 1976, one of three children of Terry and Janet (Smith) Mollenbrink of Greybull.
He attended schools in Greybull from elementary through high school. He always had a special place in his heart for his sisters, for his big sis, Diana, and for his baby sister, Jenni, who has special needs. He had compassion for those who were less fortunate and those with disabilities.
He was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at age 8. He was easy going and had a great love for life. He enjoyed spending time with his cousins, riding round-up, roping, fishing and hunting. From childhood, he had a love for animals, particularly cattle, horses and dogs.
He began college at the University of Wyoming in 1994, and initially planned to major in criminal justice or law enforcement. It wasn't long, however, before he realized he could turn his life's passion- being outdoors and working with animals- into a career. He spent the next two years at Chadron State College (1995-1997) and then returned to UW in the fall of 1997. He graduated in December, 1999 with a degree in animal science and nutrition.
It was at UW that he met Heather Dunmire, who would later share his life with him. They shared many common interests, graduating with the common major in animal science and nutrition. They loved working cattle together and spent many hours riding horses and roping and enjoying the outdoors.
After college graduation, Ryan was offered a job by Heather's father, Les Dunmire, on the Dunmire Ranch. He was then offered a job working at Brown Creek Angus with Jim Rogers, a mentor.
Beginning in 2000, Ryan split his employment half and half, spending the six winter months on the Dunmire Ranch and the six warm weather months on the Sand Hills Ranch at Rock River. In 2001, he was promoted to manager of the expansive Sand Hills Ranch, with 98,000 acres of open space where he could ride for hours without seeing anyone. The ranch was also home to 6,500 head of cattle, brought there for summer pasture.
Survivors include his father and mother, Terry and Jan Mollenbrink of Greybull; his sisters, Diana Stephens and husband Kurt of Greybull, and Jennifer Mollenbrink of Greybull; his nieces, Brett, Bailee and Kendall Stephens, all of Greybull; his fiancee, Heather Dunmire of McFadden; his grandparents, Scott and LaRae Smith of Greybull, Bill and Janis Pearl of Powell and Jack and Helen Gay Mollenbrink of Lovell; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
In memory of Ryan, a memorial fund has been established at Big Horn Federal Savings Bank in Greybull, with proceeds to go to the "Body and Spirit Therapeutic Riding Program" at the McFadden Ranch at Greybull, which Ryan's sister, Jenni, participates in.